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Former missionary, pastor Milligan marks 100th birthday with church familycomment (0)

January 18, 2007

By Leigh Pritchett


He and Neva were sent by the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) to Guam and the Bahamas and by the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board) to the Luther Rice Center in Northborough, Mass., where they served as curators.

In the late 1970s, Milligan and Neva settled in Pell City to be near two of their children. But his Kingdom work wasn’t over. He served as interim pastor of First Baptist Church, Ragland, as well as Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, Cropwell; New Hope Baptist Church, Pell City; and First, Pell City, all in St. Clair Baptist Association, and a Texas church.

In 1995, Milligan and Neva returned to Canada, where she passed away the following year.

During his interim pastorate at First, Pell City, he and Neva met Eunice Perryman, a volunteer missionary and member there, with whom they became prayer partners.

The Milligans stayed in contact with Eunice as she served around the world and eventually returned to the States in 1988.

After Neva’s death, as he spoke to Eunice by phone in July 1997, Milligan proposed to the woman for whom he had so often prayed. He returned to the United States the following month, and the two married Oct. 19, 1997, at the close of the morning service at First, Pell City.

Although he is no longer preaching, Milligan is staying active, attending his church and interceding for others in prayer. His family — sons David and Robert; two more daughters, Moyra Munroe and Marjorie Knighton; 12 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren and 102-year-old sister Mary — also keeps him busy.

David Milligan’s life has spanned from the time of horse-drawn surreys to the space shuttle Discovery docking with the International Space Station.

Milligan, who turned 100 Dec. 9, 2006, celebrated his birthday with a reception at his church — First Baptist, Pell City.

He attributes his long life to its being "in God’s hand." The vast majority of his 100 years has been, and continues to be, spent serving the Lord.

While in his 90s, Milligan wrote the book "Prayers of the Heart." At 98, he spoke at a deacons retreat. He preached his last sermon at 99.

Now at 100, Milligan has been recognized as a member of the Alabama Century Club by Gov. Bob Riley, and "even his car is a Buick Century," joked Eunice Milligan, his wife of nine years.

And the couple spends an hour a day in intercessory prayer.

"He’s an amazing man," said John Thweatt, pastor of First, Pell City. "He seems to be the essence of godliness."

Born in Pennsylvania to Irish immigrants, Milligan grew up on the prairie of Alberta, Canada. There were no churches, only young ministers who preached during the summers.

"I was 27 before I ever heard that you had to be saved," Milligan said. He and his first wife, Neva, accepted Christ together.

Milligan soon felt called into the ministry and attended seminary.

For years after seminary, he served churches in Canada. When Milligan went to Oklahoma for the wedding of his daughter, noted Christian author Esther Burroughs, a series of events resulted in him becoming a pastor in that state. Later he served three California churches and then retired — but only shortly.

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